Gift Banda trial kicks off
Member of Parliament for Njube-Lobengula Gift Banda’s trial where he is being charged with forgery commenced Tuesday at the magistrate’s court.
The trial kicked off with Banda’s lawyers arguing that there is evidence showing there was an agreement of sale of the stand he is alleged to have fraudulently acquired.
Banda is jointly charged with Mbonisi David Nkomazana (33) and a firm, Bard Real Estates which is being represented by Mbonisi David Nkomazana.
Banda and his accomplice allegedly forged Nkululeko Ndlovu’s signature purporting that he had agreed to sell him his residential stand in Selbourne Brooke, Bulawayo.
The court heard that Ndlovu bought his stand in February 2015 where he signed a Memorandum of Agreement of Sale with Bulawayo Glass and Allied Products Pvt Ltd, represented by Sipho Mhlanga (now deceased) who is the land developer and owner of the stand.
The agreement was drafted by Bard Real Estates represented by Nkomazana.
The State alleges that sometime during 2017, Banda approached Ndlovu and offered to buy the stand from him, promising to purchase for him a bigger stand in Paddonhurst.
It is the State’s case that Banda and Nkomazana also forged an agreement of sale of the stand between Banda and Bulawayo Glass and Allied Products which was drafted by Nkomazana using the Bard Real Estates logo.
Ndlovu, who was visibly emotionally charged as he gave his testimony, told the court that the documents purported by Banda and company to be evidence of the agreement of sale were fraudulent.
He stated that he only had a verbal agreement with Banda which he reneged on and when he told him he did not want to sell the stand anymore Banda did not comply.
“He went behind my back and deposited money into my bank account. We had not even agreed on a figure because we had not yet assessed how much I would sell the stand to him for. According to our discussion, we had said we would first go on site and assess the amount of development we had done and then I would charge him then I would cede my rights of the stand to the land developer who would then resell the stand to him. He was supposed to pay for my Paddonhurst stand but he never kept his end of the bargain,” testified Ndlovu.
In cross-examination, Banda’s lawyer, Munyaradzi Nzarayapenga of Dube-Banda, Nzarayapenga and partners argued that there was no forgery nor was Ndlovu cheated in any way because Ndlovu had indeed entered into an agreement with his client.
Nzarayapenga noted there is a pending case before the High Court where Ndlovu is seeking a declarator deem the sale of the stand null and void.
He said had there been no evidence that he had sold the stand to Banda then he would not have approached the High Court to file his application.
The lawyer also produced as exhibits two reports from the Question Document Examination department bearing the same signature but with different contents.
One of the reports confirmed that the signatures on the alleged documents were indeed different while the other stated that they were from the same person with a natural variation which dismissed the possibility of forgery.
For the State, George Rufumoyo, said “Banda and Ndlovu settled their agreement verbally. Banda failed to keep his end of the bargain of securing another stand in Paddonhurst and instead offered to pay Ndlovu cash for his Selbourne Brooke stand. He again failed to settle the cash payment.”
He said on July 21 2017, Ndlovu sent Banda a WhatsApp message informing him that he no longer wanted to sell his stand to him.
The court heard that despite the cancellation by Ndlovu, Banda went on to deposit $2000 into Ndlovu’s Steward Bank account and proceeded to start construction at the stand.
“On realisation that Banda was defiant, Ndlovu, through his lawyers, wrote a letter instructing him to cease his construction but he did not adhere. Ndlovu and his lawyers then made an application to the High Court declaring the sale null and void since it was against City Council’s regulations to sell an undeveloped stand,” said Rufumoyo.
“Banda in turn tendered at the High Court a cessation agreement which was drafted by Nkomazana in his official capacity as a sales agent for Board Real Estates. The cessation agreement purported that Ndlovu had ceded all interest and rights of the stand to Bulawayo Glass and Allied Products.”
The State alleged that the document had Ndlovu’s forged signatures and also tendered at the High Court was an acknowledgement of payment which was drafted by Nkomazana in his capacity as a sales agent of the accused company.